Island style Christmas Magic

miracle

12/22/2015  Aaaah, yes, holidays on the island. It’s so different from what I am used to, from what was brainwashed into my head for so many years, the unrealistic expectations of Christmas. Here it’s different, people don’t get new cars and big trucks for Christmas or another diamond necklace, people are happy with a bag of rice and beans and the kids take a jump rope or a stuffed animal and they smile. In the states kids want Wii, Xbox and iPads, here a truck or a frisbee or a Beanie Baby is wonderful! No excessive gift giving on this rock.

On Thursday we had the kids party in Fiddlers Bight, an area with water access only. The kids from Calabash Bight came also, we think there were around 175 kids total, more than the previous year. When our boat arrived at the party spot the kids were busy making and flying paper airplanes with this cool set Marilyn and Alex bought for them. They were having fun with that, seeing who could throw theirs the farthest. A few of the girls were drawing with chalk on the macadam. It was a calm, hot as hell day, my shirt was soaked by mid afternoon and Francie was glistening.. At one point I thought my calves were melting. Too bad the sun can’t melt your ass off, or your gut..

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The coolest paper airplane kit that Marilyn and Alex brought

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So bizarre, part of a doll hanging on the fence. Random

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Santa’s new chair, made by Bill, painted by Marilyn

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I love DUBAI?? The country?? HUH?

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Kat, BJ’s gorgeous daughter, explaining the folding process for the airplanes

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Frosty in a box

The kids played for awhile, then the story lady told her version of the birth of Christ and Kat translated it to Spanish and rearranged some of the story to keep it on track. Lets just say the story lady has a slightly different version. Kat was great though, she told the story in a very animated way, the kids were really paying attention to her.

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Story lady on the right holding up a picture.

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gorgeous little girls

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really, could she be any cuter??

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Derek, my favorite

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Marilyn and her jester hat

After the story lady was done we gave the kids a stick and let them take turns beating the candy out of poor old Frosty the Snowman. I kept getting freaked out, afraid they might whack Francie a few times, the boys were slammimg the crap out of Frosty. Once they got a hole torn in it, it was all over. The kids dove on top of one another for the candy, as always, some get a lot some get a little.

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My new friend Judy staying WAAAYY back from the stick.

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Yes Carmen has on 2 sets of antlers.. It’s a look.

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Bashed Frosty

Then someone spoke the magic words, “here comes Santa”. Sure enough, standing up in the boat that was coming across the water was Santa Claus. Pandemonium. In all reality, for as little as these kids have, seeing Santa is a big deal and they were exceedingly excited. Second year in a row I’ve had tears running down my cheek when Santa arrives. You can feel the excitement.

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Waiting for Santa

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You can see by this little boys face that he sees Santa’s boat coming

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The one and only, SANTA!!

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Kids of all ages

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Even Santa’s boat captain is a reindeer.

Santa (we have a fabulous Santa) insists on wearing the full outfit, boots and gloves too, despite the 90 degree heat. He spoke to every child and when they left he told them “Santa loves you”. How cool is that? Mrs. Claus, chief elf and organizer Francie did a fab job too, hoisting the kids from their Mom’s arms to Santa and then back to Mom when they were done. She was the one glistening. Elf Joe helped keep the gifts flowing, Dave did crowd control, Melanie was the main photographer while Rosalie marked their hands, indicating they already got a gift. Smooth as clockwork.

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Twins were having none of this Santa stuff..

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Love the little boy’s look

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Such gorgeous kids

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He looks a little shy

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This kills me

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Anxiously waiting

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No Santa for this boy either

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This is the first little boy I ever fit for Tom’s shoes. He’s the one who hugged me before I even fitted him. His name is Derek

Mom must have a busy night planned. All the Moms want to sit on Santa’s lap too, that’s why he needed a sturdier chair.

Melanie took 465 photos in a few hours. For over an hour she knelt on her knees, on a piece of cardboard, on the dirt ground, taking photos. Amazing.When Santa had seen everyone the ladies there (many mothers) served the kids food.

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This little girls hair is so long, just beautiful.

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The most gorgeous kids

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Nice looking young boy

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Another good looking boy

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These kids are all cute

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Pensive

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So pretty

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With her new doll

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Family rowing home after the party

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Party is over, time to go home.

We left shortly after that and went to Alex and Marilyn’s house for dinner. She is so phenomenal in the kitchen, she can whip up an impromptu meal in no time and it rocks. Tonight was no different.

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Brett AKA Cute Boat Guy and Carmen

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The guys chatting

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Kathy and Judy

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Marilyn’s recycle bin

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Lounging in the living room

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The tree looks great

Great meal, yummy salad (Carmen).  There were quite a few friends there, we sat around and chatted for awhile. I met a new lady from Cali that lives here too. She had further to drive than I did and it was dark so we had Alex deposit us back at BJ’s and we each drove back to our homes.

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Ride home

Friday was BJ’s, I went there after my fiasco at the municipal. Late Saturday morning we took the dogs to Parrot Tree swimming. They haven’t been for a while and they knew exactly where they were and they were uncontrollable. Once they got to the other side of the lagoon, we set them free.

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My babies

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Barrio chilling on the chair

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They are water dogs

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Handsome Barrio, out of the 3 pups he has the sweetest demeanor and is the calmest, also the most skittish.

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Sweet boy Barrio

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L to R, Max, Barrio and Gringo in the front, he is the biggest by far, pushing 55# of solid muscle.

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Gringo, Barrio and Max

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Gringo, I’m not positive but he might have been taking a whizz..

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Barrio in front, Gringo, Max

These puppies have a serious hold on my heartstrings. I can’t really describe the depth of the emotions but I feel so responsible for them, even responsible for their happiness. I worry that they are bored, maybe they need exercised, maybe we need a bigger enclosed area, how about a pool for them to swim in?  Is their food good enough, do they eat enough? It’s an issue for sure. I truly feel like I gave birth to these dogs but obviously I didn’t, and I do know that, but it does not lessen my feelings of motherhood to these 3 pups. Plain and simple. They own me.

Saturday afternoon we went over to our friends, Chuck and Nancy’s for drinks and dinner. It was a nice break from our daily busyness and it’s always nice to visit with them and see the progress on the building they are working on. It is almost done and it looks fabulous, amazing…I could live in that space.

Sunday was the first of Nidia’s Because We Care Christmas parties for the kids. I arrived too early, as is my damn style.

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The Ark is taking shape..

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Just the view going into Punta Gorda. I make sure to NEVER take this view for granted.

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A house in town

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The party was held on this beach.

Nobody was there so I turned around and drove back through town, called Nidia and then decided she wouldn’t be there for 45 min. so I went home, (10 min.) and kissed the dogs for awhile. On my way home one of the boys who was dressed in shorts and nothing else, his body covered in black oil, wearing a mask  and brandishing a wooden spear, walked up to the front of my car and shook his belly. Then he came over to my open window and said ‘gimme 5 dollars. ” I said No, I’m not giving you 5 dollars, now move. And he did.

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They call themselves something in Spanish that roughly translates to Barbaric Indian. I guess I was supposed to be scared.

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So beautiful

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You can see forever

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Photo op

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I want this boat

When I went to Punta Gorda the second time things were starting to happen. Nidia and her two daughters and one of her sons were there, Santa was there and Nidia had lots of helpers. They brought the tables so we put the gifts out on the tables, which maybe is a mean thing to do. Mixed emotions on this one. After 2PM the kids and parents started to arrive.

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Getting the toys out

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Hats and jump ropes

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Nidia arranging the dolls, mouse ears, cars, trucks and assorted other gifts

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Flip-flops

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quite a variety of toys

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These kids are so cute

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Nidia in the center, her 2 daughters, Krista in red and Janisha. Love them all.

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A little bit of everything

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They delivered chairs and all the kids sat on them while the adults stood. Finally Sully (Santa) stole 2 for us.

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She posed for me, OMG!!

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Blowing up a balloon

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Cutie

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She was also trying to blow up a balloon.

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Kudos for him even trying. They were long curly balloons, not easy to blow up at all.

Once there were lots of kids there, most all in Santa hats, Nidia had the kids play musical chairs for a while, the DJ was rocking the tunes. It always blows my mind to see kids playing this game and wondering, do kids in the US still play musical chairs, like ever??

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Musical chairs using the chairs from the restaurant

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Pretty girl in her Minnie Mouse ears

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Couple more cuties

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Her dress, her barrettes, her ears and the balloon..

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Kids in Santa hats were everywhere…

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Once they were done playing musical chairs, Santa came.

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Such a doll!

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Getting organized into lines

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These kids are so gorgeous…

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This is my friend Gail in the pink. I met her the day I picked my friends up at the cruise ship, she was hanging in my friends store. She is from eastern Canada. She is with 2 Barbaric Indians. The kids all ran and screamed when they saw them.

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The little girl in the pink frilly dress had 2 balloons stuffed in the front of her dress.

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hmm, one of everything please

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And here he is, Santa. Sully (Santa) also helped out last year with some toy and food delivery. I believe he has helped Nidia many times, really a nice guy. This Santa was a tropical one in flip flops!!

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He was swarmed by the kids

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It was a sea of Santa hats

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Ho Ho Ho

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Adorable

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Santa and the kids

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My friend Miss Linda from Camp Bay and her grandson

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Santa, in between passing out gifts..

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Feet

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I always find the shoe choices interesting

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Gorgeous

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Sweet boys eyeing the goodies

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Santa passing out candy bags, then I passed out toothbrushes..

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Lunch, hot dogs, juice and ice cream

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Kids waiting for their gifts

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you could cut the tension with a knife..they wanted gifts

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The gift guarders

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How do you keep a few hundred kids in lines and quiet when all they can see is gifts?? Answer: YOU DON’T

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Please, something for me…

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Gorgeous twins. I walked over later and gave their dad 2 toothbrushes for them and 1 for their little brother. He thanked me in perfect English.

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He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother.

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eating ice cream

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Then something happened and he started crying and there was no adult with him. We kept trying to find out why he was crying but could make no sense of what he was saying. Poor little guy.

It was a long afternoon,  5.5 hours there and I was done. I headed towards home around 5:30 and became a vegetable. Sheer exhaustion set in. I tried like hell to get this blog out that night and just COULD NOT DO IT.

I did some stuff around here this morning, ran to town, got groceries, brought them home and went to Oak Ridge to pay for the permit. I did the Pay To line on the check before I left home b/c it’s long and with my shitty hands, I have a hard time writing legibally. I did NOT make out the written dollar amount, I wanted to wait. I also took a SPARE check, just in case. Well, it’s a damn good thing I had that extra check because I did the Payee name in blue and the amount in BLACK, dated and signed in BLACK and they would not flipping take it b/c it was in 2 colors of ink. They said Davivienda Bank is very fussy. WTF? At that point I wished I had a sharpie because I would have written the damn check out on his forehead. Good thing I didn’t because when I left the office I saw the Mayor and got a hug and kiss before I left the Muni. He was sitting out in the waiting room watching TV. He’s a really nice guy and I do like him and, I think he tries his best.

When I left today, this was in the road. Bill took the photo. Not a soul around, no glass, no signs of blood, no bodies. Really, nobody came to investigate this accident??

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I got home and was working on the blog and picking up around here when Trish called. They were on their way home from Mondays Don’t Suck (I missed it again, too busy) and stopped by here for a drink on the roof. It’s the first I’ve seen her since she arrived last Monday! Looking forward to hanging out with them while they are here.

The wonders of Facebook continue to thrill me on a daily basis. It allows me to be in touch with people I used to see daily while working for Bank of America. Believe it or not, you make friendships with those people and being able to maintain those friendships via Facebook is incredible. One of those friends is Chris Castle, Chris was in the bank daily and he and I became friends. I knew he and his wife had 2 sons and that Chris was a soccer ref. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Chris and his boss Phil. After I left the bank I would run into him every now and then but when we moved, we lost touch. Until I saw him on my friend Katy’s FB. The rest is history, except for the fact that Chris’s wife is a very talented artist. I really enjoy seeing Julie’s work that Chris posts. He recently set up an Etsy shop for her. Please take a few minutes to look at her work, she is really good. The web address is https://www.facebook.com/Sand-Castle-Shack-Studio-448528448665578/?fref=ts  and her Etsy address is: https://www.etsy.com/shop/SandCastleShack?ref=hdr_shop_menu. Merry Christmas Chris, Julie and family!!

It’s 10 PM, I have to get 4 dogs outside and drag this tired old butt to bed. I have the one big BWC Christmas party on Wednesday then it’s fun and games and partying with our friends this Christmas season.

To all the amazing people who follow my blog, thank you. Bill, Highway, Lola, Frito, Gringo, Max, Barrio, Emmy and I wish you a fabulously Merry Christmas and an enchanting New Year..XOXO

JINGLE BELLS, ISLAND STYLE. Thanks to Jeanie for this one..(sung to the tune of Jingle Bells)

We sit with drink in hand
Without a hope of snow
Under spreading palms
A hurricane’s sure to blow
Santa Claus will find
That things can turn to shit
He won’t be riding eight reindeer
He can’t get his permit
      Oh, hells bells….coconut shells
       Cervezas all the way….oh what fun it is to ride….in a pick-up truck today

 

 

 

 

Doña Maria de la Luz

cross your path

10/08/2015 Yesterday morning Carmen and Marilyn were dropped off at my house by Alex, we loaded up the car, sprayed more bug repellent on us on top of the already sprayed bug repellent (I mean, we were jungle bound), Marilyn and I loaded our walking sticks into my car and we set off to meet Nidia at the Roatan Culture Village. We were going to see Doña Maria, the lady we went to see last week but she wasn’t home. I had a bag of stuff for her, shampoo, creme rinse, body soap, air freshener, some plastic cups, laundry and dish soap and some dish scrubbers, plus a used pair (new condition) of Keen sandals for her. Nidia had some flip flops and 3 dresses for her too. She had also asked for some black water dye because she wanted to color her hair. However, she was in for a big surprise. Nidia had arranged for her to get her hair done at Sophiestication Salon and Spa in Coxen Hole. They graciously said they would give her a hair color and cut and mani, pedi for free.

The walk in to her place is challenging in the beginning because there are some very steep, uneven steps carved into the side of the hill. I was so grateful for the walking stick Bill made me that morning, it makes up for not having 2 good knees.

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I didn’t even notice this tunnel the first time I went there. Nidia said it doesn’t go back very far.

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Painting on a twig wall

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Part of the old Culture Village, the bar area was quite large. Love the stools!

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This place must have been amazing.

We  made it to her house, obviously earlier than she had expected us. She was stoking the fire in her mud oven when we arrived. We started getting out the goodies we had for her and showing her what we brought.

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Here she has on her Keen sandals. They will be great for her walking through the jungle to the spring to get water.

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You can’t help but fall in love with her, what a sweet lady.

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This is what her hair looked like before her salon treatment and she is modeling a new dress.

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Nidia and Marilyn with her.

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She was husking corn and said she wanted a corn grinder to make her own corn meal or flour.

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Her broom

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Marilyn with Doña Maria

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Shoe tree

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Entrance to her bedroom. Her new cups and shampoo and creme rinse are on her shelf. The orange bag has her 3 new dresses in it, new  shoes in the black plastic bag.

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Her kitchen. This makes me realize so much about the excess that many people live with, thinking it gives them a better life. It does not.

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She went in and changed before we walked down the hill to my car, bound for the beauty shop.

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Marilyn and Carmen, obviously I didn’t get the blue memo.

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Even more obvious that I got no memo when she changed into blue also. She lost the lock for her front door and ties it closed now. I need to get her a new lock.

We were ready to go to town and she led us off the mountain. At one point I yelled to Nidia, “Why is she running?” She moved so fast down that path and when it came to the stairs I think she jogged down them. I remarked to Marilyn about it and Marilyn tried to make it sound reasonable that she did it so easily because of a lower center of gravity. Yeah, maybe that’s it. We got her buckled in the front seat and off we went to Sophiestication Salon at Plaza Mar.

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She seemed slightly overwhelmed at first. Rightfully so, she was in a room surrounded by mirrors and all she saw was herself.

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They were getting ready to do her hair so the 4 of us went shopping again. Marilyn and Carmen got her metal forks and spoons, a new knife (her old one was so dull Marilyn said you could fall on it), coca cola, meat and cheese, sugar and a container to keep it in, a ladle and some condiments. Remember, she has no electricity or running water. I got her some beans, corn flour, bread, rolls, clothespins and clothesline and a few other things.

We took that stuff to the car and went back to see how she was doing.

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Her hair had all the color on it and they were giving her a pedicure. Look at her expression. Priceless.

Remember, this woman lives in the jungle, she doesn’t even own a mirror, let alone beauty products. Despite the fact that she is probably in the sun much of the day she has exquisite skin, especially for a lady her age.

Marilyn and Carmen and I went to Super Islena looking for a corn grinder and a bucket with a lid. No corn grinder in the several places we looked but Carmen did find a nice lidded bucket to keep the rats out of her beans and flour. We went back to the salon and her hair was being combed out and straightened. SHE LOOKED LIKE A DIFFERENT WOMAN.

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Getting her nails done

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Marilyn admiring our new friend.

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The ladies at Sophiestication Salon worked miracles that morning.

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Just beautiful.

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With the lovely ladies from Sophiestication Salon.

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The transformation

This is the real shocker though, what a change in her looks. She was so thrilled.

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Just as we were getting ready to leave Plaza Mar it started raining. We got into the car quickly so she didn’t get her new hairdo wet. This time Nidia took us in a different way (so thankful for my AWD Outlander) since it was raining and we had lots more stuff to carry for her.

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Guard shack

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Carmen blazing the trail and lugging a bag of goodies

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Marilyn with Coke and Nidia and Doña Maria behind her. Sorry it’s blurry, I was moving..

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A house on the way, lower level is mud walls.

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Nidia helping get her hair tied up so it doesn’t get wet.

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Marilyn putting her sugar in the critter proof container.  Doña Maria was so excited that we got her more things. We showed her everything and she kept thanking us. It really made for a fabulous day for this sweet lady.

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Nidia and Marilyn helping her to bend over so they could do her hair in a top knot on top of her head.

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Perfect!

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The 4 of us, Doña Maria has her hair covered with a towel

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She took the towel off for this photo.

She was so upset that she couldn’t offer us anything. She wanted to make us tortillas but we showed up earlier than she expected. She must have apologized to Nidia about it several times. It really amazes me that she was so worried about giving us something; she has no idea that she already did, something way better than any tortilla ever could be. Just the experience of spending a day with this amazing woman was so exhilarating. It made me realize that the fact that my kitchen isn’t done is not really a big deal, that no door yet on my pantry is insignificant. She has so little and is so happy.

We also found out that in the 8 years she has been on the island (she came from Olanchito on the mainland with her son and his wife, they were allowed to build a “house” on the land in exchange for being caretakers, his wife must be gone and her son is only there sporadically) she has never been to the east end of Roatan. We plan to take her on a day trip, maybe a boat ride, get her out and away from the jungle so she too can experience the beauty of this island.

Meeting Nidia has changed my whole path on this island. She gives of herself everyday to so many people, she gives her time, her energy and her love. If she needs to raise money for something she does it, with the goal clearly set in her sights. Nothing stops her, no person is insignificant in her eyes. She does so much for the children and the seniors on this island that just being with her has made me a better person. Now I get to share Nidia with my friends, Carmen and Marilyn. They have joined me on several events that Nidia has taken me to. I can’t imagine better people to hang out with and to help Nidia do what she does best, helping those who need help.

After we left Doña Maria we dropped Nidia off at her store and stopped at the new liquor store in town. We each bought a few bottles of wine and sampled some Bailey’s Dulch de Leche, ohmyyummy!! Dangerous stuff. By the time we left there it was POURING. We got soaked just getting in the car. We stopped in Los Fuertes and Marilyn found the corn grinder for Doña Maria in one of the stores. And we got more soaked. By the time we got to French Harbor the rain had subsided so we decided to drag our soggy semi muddy selves into Herbie’s for some lunch. We had a “fried” lunch and drinks and then headed back to Oak Ridge, where I dropped Marilyn and Carmen off. Alex was coming in the boat to get them and whisk them home.

Such a simply fabulous day with 3 fabulous ladies and sweet Doña Maria. Nidia, thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of what you do. I love you lots and look forward to more adventures!

****Just a side note: We are looking for donations for the Christmas party for the children. We need to buy about 1000 gifts and then get food and drinks for the parties and some Piñatas for the games. In the past, Because We Care did a food drive and supplied bags of food for the parents and toys for the kids right before the holidays. Last year it was evident that things were taking a negative turn. People were not thankful for what they were given, they were angry because they expected more or different or better. Because We Care works very hard to raise the money for these events and to finish weeks of driving all over the island and passing out things to some (not all) ungrateful people takes a lot of the fun out of it.

This year it’s just about the kids, that’s it. Santa will be available to pass out gifts to all the kids and if we can raise enough $$ we will throw a party for the kids on each end of the island. (The majority of the people we help have no cars or means of transportation). If you are interested in donating please email me @  ledfutt@gmail.com. I guarantee every cent goes to the kids on this island. 

Thank you.

Finding your tribe

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10/07/2015  ** ANYTHING IN BOLD ITALICS IS A LINK, BE BRAVE AND CLICK IT FOR SOME FUN

Another Friday, another afternoon at BJ’s with my new personally set limits. We took Maxillicious with us because he has been aggressive with the other 2 boys. Can you say TOO MUCH TESTOSTERONE?? He was so good I was amazed. He just laid on the floor and watched the people, he didn’t bark or jump up on anyone, he acted like a well trained dog. Marilyn and I discussed plans for the next night even though Carmen and Brett weren’t there.

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Max, sniffing for treats

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Not a lap dog

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But he’s my sweetie and I hold him anyhow

Saturday evening was the second Because We Care concert to raise $$ for Rehab  for Ursula and Frances. They are 2 ladies Nidia has known for a long time and is doing her best to get the money to ensure they complete treatment. The concert was downtown at the Juan Brooks School. We wanted to support Nidia in her efforts and we also wanted to be there to wish her Happy Birthday. We got there early and the concert was running late. Honduras. So we did what anyone else would do, we walked to the grocery, got beer and wine and drank in the car. Actually Bill and Alex went to get the booze, we sat and finished off the first bottle of wine with the music on and the door opened. Carmen had to pee so she found a dark corner of the parking lot to go. Unfortunately she peed on her new sandals because she peed crooked, the sandals were sparkly too. But that’s not why she peed on them. Just about the time Carmen went to pee, Nidia walked by. She had no idea we were there, it was really weird. We were happy to see her, she looked gorgeous, well, she is gorgeous. We had a few things for her birthday so we gave them to her there. I also handed her my half full orange (never done an orange Solo before, only red) Solo cup of wine. She informed us the concert was for drug rehab, not alcohol, we were cool. Not that we needed rehab or anything. We went to the concert and the guest singer, Ursula, the lady that was in rehab for drug addiction, was 2 hours late. TO HER OWN $$$ RAISING CONCERT, SHE WAS LATE. She was getting her nails done. Marilyn had a water bottle with wine in it (@ the Rehab concert) and Carmen had her own orange Solo cup.

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Our view from the back row

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Nidia, Ursula, Irenne and the guys in the band

I think at one point I had the cup, passed it back to Brett to give to Carmen and she proclaimed, “No, I’m too drunk and hungry to drink anymore”. {They tried to make me go to rehab, I said no, no, no.} The lady in front of her turned and scowled, after all, we were at a Rehab concert. I walked out front to talk to Nidia and on the way back inside Marilyn and Alex were walking towards me, Alex came up and grabbed me and started swirling me around this parking lot that had crater size holes in it, dancing.  Yes, we were the only people dancing. I had on 3″ wedges for the first time in over 2 1/2 years, I could barely walk, let alone dance. It was wonderful.

It was getting late and none of us had eaten so we left the concert for Rehab b/c we were lacking sustainable nutrition with our wine. We went to Romeo’s, a fancy restaurant, for dinner. It sits on the water in French Harbor and my friend Connie and her husband own it. {She is the lady who started Cattleya school for the physically and mentally challenged students. I go there and help when I’m needed.} As soon as we got there Bill got a call from a neighbor who said our dogs were barking like crazy. We thought, oh well, there’s a rabbit..then our other neighbor calls, he’s 86 and deaf as a doorknob. He heard them too. He said he would walk up and then call us. He didn’t call so Bill called him and he was at our fence and the dogs were barking so loud they couldn’t talk. By this time we had our drinks and were deciding what to do.

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Brett sure is eyeing Bill’s beer

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The ever gorgeous Marilyn and Alex! What a couple..

We all placed our orders and five minutes later decided we have to get them “to go.” Right before our meals were ready to go we got another phone call that the dogs had stopped barking. Hmmmm. What does that mean?

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Obviously because Alex is absent from this photo, I was Marilyn’s love-sub. Alex was being a gentleman and getting the car and waiting, and waiting for us..No blame on the restaurant, we ordered a lot of food to go.

It means it’s time to pose for pics while we wait for our food to be done, then we jumped in the waiting car and came to our house.

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Carmen balancing the food, Brett balancing his beer. Love these 2.

The Beach Boys led by Highway were barking when we came up the hill but not that much. Frito was doing her f*cking seal impersonations, UGH. That drives me crazy. Seriously, she sounds like we have a Flock of Seals inside. {And the guy that was going to give her a new home said she doesn’t bark. OMG.} Anyhow, we get home, go upstairs with eleventy boxes of food, bag of ice, random beers and some wine that was diluted by ice cubes. The dogs were fine, the house was secure and they were barking BECAUSE THEY COULD. We weren’t here to stop them.

We all stood around our island and ate like a bunch of starved heathens. Once all of our bellies were full, we all wanted to lay down and sleep. Marilyn and Alex and Brett and Carmen still had a drive and a boat ride to get home. They’re like island pioneers, or maybe pirates, whatever.

Anyhow, a completely random, crazy stupid, disrupted evening turned out to be a blast.

The tribe has spoken. They were all voted in, they can stay.

 

Setting limits

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09/29/2015 It’s been another quiet week here. We are happy to be able to enjoy the roof with the dogs. They seem to think it’s free for all time up there and go a little crazy. Until we get the pergola built, we have to wait until the sun goes down some or else we’ll melt up there. Speaking of melting, it’s been stinking hot and humid here.

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The Beach Boys and their roadies

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Barrio

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Highway brandishing his teeth. It’s all show and they know it and lick his gums when he does that. Sometimes I wonder if they are like Highway’s dental floss servants or something. Like the Remora fish on turtles..whatever.

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Andee, it’s baaaacccck! Very useful carrying things to the roof, my favorite gift ever..Thank you.

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MMMM, very very cold Dos Equis with some limes and salt. It goes down way too well.

We decided since we had such a boringly normal week we would hit BJ’s on Friday. If you’re an ex-pat and not been to BJ’s, you’re missing out. BJ’s is a wooden building on the waterway in Oak Ridge. The building is nothing, the view is fabulous, boats coming and going, cruising by, people headed home when going by boat is the only way to get there. Like many of my friends, boat access only. With only water access, it’s a different way of life. We arrived at BJ’s around 1.

I happened to have a petition that was being circulated on the island to try to get a good cop returned; he was rotated to the mainland. I wanted to get some more sigs on it so I took it there. I was successful in many ways that afternoon.

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The Banditos, the guy on the far left was a tourist who got up to sing.

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BJ herself, enjoying the music.

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Larry in the hat and Kelly, a wanabee Larry in the matching shirt behind him.

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My friend Carmen singing with the band, she’s good!

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Peggy and Alex, didn’t get to hear Peggy sing!

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#3 wine down.

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Betty and BJ. All of the photos at BJ’s are courtesy of Marilyn Northagen Poirier.

So this is my story:

#1. They had white wine, even if it was served in a jelly glass. Thank you Marilyn, you rock and thank you for taking proper wine glasses to the bar for them to use. I had a jelly glass full of wine.

#2. I got a full page of signatures on the petition. I had another glass of wine in a wine glass.

#3. I think I may have had another glass of wine after Marilyn and I got some exceedingly good news that caused us to act out on the pier.

#4. I danced several times in my bare feet, it was fabulous. I had another glass of wine and was drinking Kelly’s drink also.

#5. I believe I may have also guzzled the last sip out of Marilyn’s glass at some point before we Bill decided it was a good idea to leave.

#6. May have made plans for a party at our house, which is fine, but I didn’t remember when it was for.

We got home before 4 PM and I drank a bottle of water and went to bed and slept until 9 PM. When I woke up I filled a bowl with lettuce, put grated cheese and dressing on it and ate it. For dinner. I then drank more water and could not go to sleep. It sucked because I had the airport gig the next day and obviously I drank too much wine on an empty stomach. I had already slept 5 hours. Ridiculousness.

I now have self imposed limits.

On Saturday I volunteered to fill in for one of the greeters at the airport. I always enjoy my time spent there, getting to meet new people and talk to them about the island; it’s a fun afternoon. My friend Kathy had just arrived back on the rock and decided to wait until I was done and then I would give her a ride to her boat. (She lives boat access only) We had a great day in immigration, it went smoothly despite the fact that 2 planes landed 10 minutes apart. I met lots of fun people and hopefully made them feel welcomed to the island.

Kathy and I stopped at the grocery store on the way home and as soon as I walked in I saw people I had spoken with at the airport. They all said hello and a few aisles later I helped them pick out some booze for the week. I mean, obviously I would know this. I gave Kathy a ride to BJ’s and then came home w/ groceries for the party that we may be having. Only issue is that while at the store, my phone was dead. I always keep my grocery list on a program called KEEP on my phone. I could NOT access my list. I forgot shit.

That’s OK though because Bill had to go to ACE in the morning for something plus he was picking up primer for our other friends who were coming to dinner and live boat access only too. He stopped at the store and got what I forgot, which by the way was very minimal. AS IN, I remembered.

Sunday we busted our butts cleaning up around here, we were indeed having friends over. The house does get bad, there are things laying all over the kitchen island and the porch and house is a mess with dog stuff. BUT, when you have 6 dogs and a cat, you get special passes for hairy floors and hairy whiskers. It’s the hairy whiskers that get me all the time. Sunday was the eve of the blood moon and the lunar eclipse.

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Bill and I on the roof

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Brett, Alex and Bill

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Brett, the other half of Brett and Carmen

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Carmen, they are from South Dakota and now live here.

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They have an awesome water access home on the beach. Pretty sweet deal. I posted photos before of being at their place.

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Sunset over the North shore

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Sky over the south shore. All of these photos were also taken by Marilyn ..

We saw zip, zero, nada of the blood moon due to clouds. However, just when we thought all hope was gone, the clouds cleared away and we were treated to the eclipse. Of course, my camera was downstairs and I was ultimately too lazy to go get it. Just for the record, I only had 2 glasses of wine and then switched to water. A much better idea for me.

It was a fun evening up on the roof with great friends. It will be much nicer once we get it finished up there and have a few creature comforts..

On Tuesday I joined Nidia and her friend Lidia on a trek to go visit Doña Maria, who lives alone in the jungle. Nidia and Lidia had been to visit her not too long ago. She had a request for a few more items so we were going to deliver them. These photos of Doña Maria were taken when Nidia and Lidia went to see her.

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Peeling sugar cane with her machete

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Showing Nidia her church dress, she needs a new one.

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She also needs some new shoes.

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She LOVES Coke so they took her some and also some groceries.

We started our trek at the Roatan Culture Village, a place I never knew existed. It is an old resort that must have been pretty darn amazing in it’s day. We parked my car and walked through a gate and I was dumbfounded. There in the midst of the jungle is this eerily cool old resort. It is very run down, has had no visitors for some time.

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Roatan Culture Village, I’m not sure the name is really evocative of what went on here but it sounds educational.

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Huge old pool, there was also a kiddy pool off to the right.

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Lidia and Nidia

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Benches from a bygone era

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There was a pool (Billiards) hall, a dance hall and another small pool.

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Brightly painted benches

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A fabulous old building on the grounds

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The other pool with a submarine in it

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A good shot of the DEEPEST SUB TOUR @ 1/2 MOON BAY. I have been told this was made by Karl Stanley.

Karl Stanley (click on his name) lives on Roatan and he has done more for chronicling and capturing things below the sea than many who came before him. Marine Biologists from all over the world come here to go down in Idabel with Karl to 2000′ feet below the surface.  Check out his adventures here: https://fathomlessinnerspace.wordpress.com/2013/09/28/magical-mantas-and-pink-pyrozomes/

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The path to Doña Maria’s house

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Bridge # 2, wasn’t too bad.

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Welcome to the jungle

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This is the spring where Doña Maria comes to get water

We trudged all the way up to her house and she wasn’t home. Now, it’s not like she has a lot of places to go. She is 82 and lives in the middle of the jungle, alone. She has no electricity, no running water,no bathroom, no kitchen. She has a few neighbors further up the valley.

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Her mud oven, she is 82.

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Clothesline. Nidia said her son comes and stays with her every now and then, looks like she did his washing.

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Mud walls surround the mud oven

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This is her home. Her chickens live on the bottom floor and she lives above them.

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This is where she stores her dishes. She asked for a few plastic drinking glasses which we bought for her.

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She keeps the fire going all the time but gets it really burning when she is cooking.

We walked on up to her neighbors house but nobody was home there either.

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On the way to the neighbors

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This bridge was a little shaky

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The handrails were loose too

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Nidia was doing acrobatics on it

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Her neighbor’s home

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Blue tarp

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The back wall was all mud and sticks

Disappointed that Doña Maria was not there, we headed back down to my car. On the way we dropped the coke off at her house, kind of hid it as a surprise for her.

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We put it in the black bucket, I’m sure she will be thrilled when she sees it.

Our plans are to go another day, very soon. I bought her shampoo, cream rinse, soap, dish soap, laundry powder, toilet paper, some plastic glasses and a pair of used Keen shoes in great condition. Nidia has a few dresses and some slippers for her. Hopefully we’ll go soon! We didn’t leave the other things we got for her because we were afraid someone would happen by and take them so we will be going back and I will be taking a walking stick and wearing more bug spray for sure.

These last few photos are random shots so bear with me.

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My friend Kathy’s watchie took this photo of a snake in her yard. We all (ASS)umed it was a boa but turns out it is a rat snake. A big assed rat snake,

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Hello, I see you………………………..

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Yep, big assed snake

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Not to be outdone by Kathy and her big assed snake, Bill killed another Coral (poisonous) on our porch the other eve.

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Cactus growing out on my cactus

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weird

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Barrio and Highway, airing their stuff

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Facial deconstruction/reconstruction with eye removal

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More dried sweet potatoes

Brotherly love

Calling it a night. I organized 2 bags of dog collars after I got home from an early morning with Because We Care and CALM Ministries from Baton Rouge, LA. We passed out school supplies to 400 kids in Oak Ridge.

More on that later, didn’t feel it was appropriate with my confessions of too much wine..

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I wanted to nap, the Beach Boys wanted to party!

 

The Roatan East End Senior’s Luncheon

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07/30/2015 Sorry I didn’t post this last week, I’ve been super busy with the vet clinic that is in town and trying to get ready for a visit from our son and well, you know, 7 dogs and a cat take up some time too.

Last Wednesday was the big day for our Senior’s luncheon (7/22/2015). It’s the first time it has EVER been held on the East end of the island so it was extra meaningful for these fabulous people. On the eastern end of the island people live much more remotely than on the west end. Communities are located further apart, so seeing their friends or relatives doesn’t happen very often.

I would like to say I played a huge part in the event but I really didn’t. It was Nidia, she is pretty amazing. This event took 6 months to organize, and remember, everything done here is done on island time. Many meetings and many many many hundreds of phone calls went into this event. She organized the patronado’s from each community to research and make lists of the oldest people in their area and called them constantly to make sure they were following through and that all the respective people were notified. There were chairs, tables, tablecloths, silverware, pots, pans, stoves, coolers, all this had to be brought in. They had to figure out how much they needed of everything to serve everyone. There was a gas stove that didn’t work that had to be fixed, and ice and water to be gotten. This is Roatan, there aren’t lots of catering companies.. Nidia did it all. I’ve never met anyone with the ambition and fortitude and determination that this woman has, she is a power house; she gets things done. Funny thing is, everyone who crosses her path knows she means business, yet they adore her. She honestly is one of a kind and I’m so blessed to say she is my friend.

The luncheon was PDS, Pretty Darn Spectacular. Instead of words, enjoy the photos and a few videos. Please watch the videos, they too, are PDS. {click on the italicized words}

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The cooks are cleaning chicken, lots of freaking chicken. I rarely touch it.

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Jimmy and Mac unloading chairs. Mac is a recent volunteer with BWC and an all around great guy!

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Tables and more chairs

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The Live Again Ministry realizing they have to bag all that candy into 450 individual bags.

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450 done

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wrapping the utensils

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Our master chefs

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P O T A T O E S

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B A N A N A S

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B E A N S She was really cute, before I took the photo she had to adjust her skirt..

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Sugar high

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The other dynamo on this island, Miss Daine Wood Etches, an amazing and knowledgeable lady. She was born into one of the oldest families on the island.

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Separating the food items for the baskets

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Downstairs hallway. Must have been a grand place, reminds me of Kellerman’s in Dirty Dancing.

This resort was previously called Spy Glass Hill and it sits on some amazing land. The new owner of the resort, now called Henry’s Cove, graciously allowed us to use this place. Another Nidia accomplishment.

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Wonder woman Nidia and Pastor Ronny from Live Again Ministries. Everyone kept going in to the kitchen because it smelled SO good!

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Food for baskets

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Sun Water donated bottled water

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Counting chairs

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Here she is, Miss Amazing…

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A filled basket

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These ladies can cook. There were no laptops opened to Pinterest and no cookbooks in sight.

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Enough food for 450 people

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The front porch before tablecloths

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Cleaning carrots. There was music playing in the background, these ladies were having fun!

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My friend Lisa, one of the cooks. This woman gets it done.

I caught the cooks mid song (video) the morning of the event.

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baskets filled pre-cellophane wrap

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Some of the ladies, all dressed up. In case you are wondering why she has a wash cloth on her shoulder: it is a common sight to see people with a cloth on their shoulder or in their back pocket or purse. IT’S HOT HERE!! And if I smartened up, I would be carrying one too, preferable frozen.

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The wonderful Mayor of Santos Guardiola (east end of the island), Carson Dilbert. He is such a great man, we are lucky to have him.

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This lady was gorgeous..She is Garifuna from Punta Gorda

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Nidia making name tags

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The lady in the wheelchair on the left is Miss Daine’s mother, Mrs Catherine Wood. She is a gorgeous woman and she grows great veggies, whenever I’m in town I check to see what she has for sale.

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How could I not capture this face? I had just taken the balloons off the wall and handed them to him.

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Getting the dining room ready

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Some of the early arrivals. Many of them were unsure of me taking pictures so I always offered to show them their photos.

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The guests waiting to eat while visiting with friends

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Plates of food being served, traditional island food

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Mac with some of the Live Again Ministry in blue shirts. Live Again Minsitry brought boxes full of donated sandals, bibles, beads and fans, these guests got the royal treatment. The Ministry Group was a great help in making this happen. Thank You!!

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Miss Catherine on the left with a friend.

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The oldest person in Politilly Bight, Ms Carolina Pinnace, age 90

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This is Mr. Bodden @ 92, the oldest person on the remote island of Saint Helena, or St. Helene. He is the father of my friend Woudsin. His grandson Jordan, in the striped shirt, brought him to the event. It was nice to catch up with Jordan!

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Ms Juliana Ruiz at the age of 92, oldest and sweetest lady from Milton Bight..

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Ms Etty McLaughlin, eldest member in the Diamond Rock community…

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The oldest resident of Juticalpa, Doña Elisa Matute age 88. She was a little taken back by the cameras and all the people. Most of these people live a semi solitary life, except for family.

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Ms Ermones Calderon, 89 years old, eldest member from the community of Punta Gorda…

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The eldest from Lucy Point.

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And from my favorite spot, Camp Bay, Ms Jane Pandy, second eldest in the community of Camp Bay. (the eldest did not come)

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Daine, Mac and Nidia, getting ready to present Auntie Jane with her basket.

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Mac, Auntie Jane and Nidia

Auntie Jane, (video) almost 99, rocking out with Mac. What a riot she is, so full of life, she gets around fine and is pretty hilarious and witty.

This amazing lady is the oldest (that we know of) resident of Roatan. She is Auntie Clara and she is 99 years old. She is blind and can not walk but that doesn’t stop this lady from living her life.

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Auntie Clara, 99 years old, she turns 100 in October.

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This little doll was actually trying to eat the watermelon, without using her hands, while it sat on her grandma’s lap.

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THIS is what it’s all about.

After dessert was served, they did a Plat Pole up by the pool. I know this as a Maypole that we did in school on May 1st. BUT IT WAS NEVER THIS MUCH FUN!! They were rocking out to music (video) and dancing and weaving in between each other, it was so much entertainment. I loved it when Miss Linda, who had a pitcher in one hand, pulled me out to dance with her..

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Ms Linda is from Camp Bay, I met her when we worked on the school up there. She is the lady dressed in all blue and she has a plastic pitcher in her left hand!

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My friend Darla. She is a teacher at the school on St. Helene.

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The plat pole begins

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Starting to plat

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My friend Darla and her daughter in matching dresses

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Adorable, just waiting until they are old enough

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Plating or braiding the ribbon

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Original position

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Wrap and unwrap

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Intertwining makes for fun dancing

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So awesome!

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This is my friend Darla’s daughter. She was also in some of the Helene photos when we delivered desks. She is the cutest, silliest most well behaved little doll, I could kiss her all day. And sometimes I do..She had my name tag on..

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The clean up/break down and sort

You know how when you are looking forward to doing something for someone because it will make them so happy?? That’s how we all felt about the senior luncheon; and yes, it did make many people happy. However, what it did for me is so much more than that. I cried many times, moved by the people I found myself surrounded by. Profoundly touched by the moment when 99 year old Auntie Clara sang What would I do without Jesus  (video) I stood there with tears running down my cheeks as this woman, whom I’ve never before seen, sang to us. (I’ve been invited to her 100th birthday party in October and oh heck yes, I’m going!!)

I feel like I left the event a better person, it awakened something in me, it stirred my soul.

Thank you Nidia Webster, for allowing me to become part of Because We Care. You, my friend, are an inspiration to many.

There will be another Roatan East End seniors luncheon next year!

Walking the 3 stooges

fine line

06/30/2015 A day of leisure has managed to evade us for quite some time. For the last 2 months our lives have been sheer pandemonium with puppies. Sunday June 21st was the first time before pups, without guests from the states and without a puppy sitter that we dared to leave home together.

I got up and visited with the puppies at a decent time this morning, it was Bill’s morning to get up at 5:30 and let them off the porch, I got to sleep until 7:00. I covet sleep, not having gotten much of it in 8 weeks.

After some smooches on the 3 remaining pups and feeding them their breakfast with yogurt, I made myself breakfast. I decided to wash our bedding so I enjoyed my cup of tea on the deck looking out over the north and south shores while the washing machine did it’s thing.

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My boys

The pups all went down the steps to the yard to potty so I followed, tea cup still in my hand. I was greeted by umpteen numbers of dog poop piles, 4 big dogs plus 3 pups=massive poop. I chugged the rest of my tea and grabbed the shovel. It’s funny but these boys are like a chain reaction, one poops, they all poop, sometimes in two different spots per poop. Let’s spread the poop around. I am obsessed with cleaning up the poop IMMEDIATELY. I decided against training the pups to poop on the shovel after I considered the emotional ramifications for them so I am still following their hunched over backs and puckered poopers just waiting for the next pile to be expelled.

I got the yard all cleaned up, they had played and were passed out so I came back inside to do some chores. I threw the sheets in the dryer and washed the dishes, dried them and put them away, just in time to make another mess. I had to make rum balls for a party we were going to. I realized we were running late after I got the rum balls ready so while I was making the bed, I used a depilatory on my legs. Except I forgot to time it.

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Oh well, may have to shave a bit too..

I am the queen of multi-tasking. I got the bed all made, jumped in the shower to wash the stuff off my legs and use a quick razor where I missed..

I still had to feed the puppers before we left, dry my hair and brush my teeth. I got the pups fed and by then I was sweating like a chased pig. I managed to use my Sonic Care toothbrush and my hair dryer at the same time. I was semi successful with both. Do you know you can’t stand a Sonic Care toothbrush up and hover your mouth over it? It DOES NOT work. Trust me.

All of a sudden it was noon and we were leaving with our friends to go to a party, boat access only, and they have a boat!! We had our cooler with some beer and wine and rum balls and we were ready to go.

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One friend’s porch

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View from the other friends porch

We made it there in just a few minutes from Oak Ridge, tied the boat up and walked over to the party. There are 2 couples who live in 2 pink houses on this spit of land and it is a perfectly pink paradise.

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Their private beach

We got to see friends, ate some fabulous food, had some drinks and enjoyed the surroundings. It is absolutely gorgeous over there and I will be headed back soon with my fins and camera for some serious snorkeling..resident eel and octopus here I come.

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Can anyone spot my drink for the day?

This was a superb break from all the hectic things that have been going on in our lives and while I would like to say everyday spent on this glorious island is this tranquil and this much fun, it would be a lie. However, amongst all the pain in the butt things, the difficulty of doing somethings, we are still surrounded by beauty and calm in each direction we look. How we chose to appreciate it is up to us.

On Monday the 29th I went with Nidia and many of the ladies who will be preparing the food for the first ever Senior’s Luncheon to celebrate the residents on the East end of Roatan. It will be held in Punta Gorda, on the grounds of Spy Glass Hill, a beautiful but unused, vacant resort. We met today to have a look at the kitchen, assess what will be needed, plan the menu and figure out how much of everything they will need to buy, down to the spices, sugar and salt. One of the major things is determining if the big gas stove still works, nobody knows how long it’s been since it was last used. Cooking for 400 people is a big job for these ladies who are volunteering to help out.

Each of the different communities represented will have a prize for the oldest person in their community. I’m very confident that a room full of senior residents will have some fabulous stories to share and the amount of island history that they have stored in their heads will unfortunately never be recorded in any history books for generations to come. Many of these people don’t get to see their friends who live in other communities because of the travel involved. This will be a significant social event for all of them, and for all of us fortunate enough to be involved. 

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The dining room

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Looking into the bar area

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Bar to dining room

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Resident cat on the stamped concrete

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Entrance, office to the right

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Second floor atrium

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Beautiful light in this area

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Long hall to 6 rooms going from each side of the atrium

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Superb pool area

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Big pool

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walkway to pool from rooms

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Resort

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the grounds are gorgeous, goes right down to the water and a beach

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Under the deck off of the dining room

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Dining room to left, big deck overlooking the grounds

The people who built this place did it right, it must have been a fabulous retreat for the guests who stayed there. It was purchased by someone else and nothing has been done with it since.

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burner on the old stove

Our main concern is, does this stove even work?

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Big old industrial gas stove. We need it to work. Bill said he would take a look at it.

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Good size workable kitchen

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These are most of the fabulous ladies who will be doing the cooking. Nidia is second from right, top row. She is the brains and the power behind Roatan Because We Care.

Soooooooooooooooooo, we still have 3 puppies and for the most part they are good dogs. Still a few accidents on the porch but not too bad considering there are 3 of them and I’m not sure that some of the puddles don’t belong to the Princess of Pee herself. Speaking of Lola, she and Frito are having “these puppies are mine” fights and it is getting out of control. I’m afraid the pups will get in the middle of them. I’m so tired of separating dogs, Lucky hates the pups, actually I think he is terrified of them because he won’t even walk past them so we have to keep him away since he previously grabbed them a few times, then Frito and Lola sparring daily; it’s a little much..and frankly, I’m ready to be done with it.

I’ve been trying to walk the pups, what a circus. These photos really need no captions, they pretty much tell their own story.

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Barrio in blue collar, Brindle in red and Max in green.

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Yes, I am still in my nightgown. Many days it is just what I wear.

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I survived the walk.

I finally have some Heliconia growing, or Lobster Claws, only one flower so far but hopefully I’ll have more soon.

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Lobster Claw

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The hillside is starting to look good, have to keep it chopped every 2 weeks or it grows into a jungle..

That’s it for now folks, off to see Nadia @ Glam Salon and get my roots recolored to the color they should be and not the color they continually grown out as…What is up with that??